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FDA gunning for momentum as season winds down

A Fort Dale baserunner dives for home during a faceoff with the Lowndes Academy Rebels earlier this season.  The Eagles are looking to push for momentum with two doubleheaders against area opponents in the coming week.

A Fort Dale baserunner dives for home during a faceoff with the Lowndes Academy Rebels earlier this season. The Eagles are looking to push for momentum with two doubleheaders against area opponents in the coming week.

It was a good day on the road Monday as the Fort Dale Academy varsity baseball team left Wilcox Academy with a win.

The victory puts the Eagles at 2-0 over the Wildcats, including a victory in the Fort Dale-hosted baseball tournament barely two weeks into the season.

According to Fort Dale head baseball coach Marshall Watts, little had changed since those opening days of the season.

“We had some good quality at-bats and our pitchers threw strikes,” Watts said. “When we do that, we can find ways to win.

“It’s the games where we aren’t having good quality at-bats and aren’t throwing strikes that we tend to struggle.  That’s any team in the game of baseball, really.”

The Eagles exercised a great deal of versatility on the pitcher’s mound Monday, as the team has done all season.

Cody Parker and Tanner Cartwright took the mound for the majority of Monday’s game, though the Eagles have seen production from many, many more Eagles throughout the year.

“Austin Vickery has been throwing a lot of innings in recent area games for us,” Watts said. “Luke Taylor, and Braxton Daniels have pitched a lot of games for us.  Michael Lecoq has been kind of filling our closer role.  We have a plethora, it feels like.

“We got a lot of innings from some people that needed some work yesterday, so it was good.”

The variety in the Eagles’ pitching staff is indicative of Watts’ philosophy across the board.  On any given afternoon, there are no benchwarmers in the Eagles’ dugout.

“No one has a position—they’re always open, and it’s to keep the competitive juices flowing,” Watts said.

“We haven’t had the same lineup back-to-back games all year, because we want them to keep competing every day at practice and in games.  When you’re called upon to get a base hit or a sacrifice bunt or whatever the case may be, we want them to step up and be competitive enough to get it done.”

Though Monday’s win was against a non-area opponent, there’s no shortage of important matchups in the Eagles’ future.  Tuesday saw the Eagles squaring off in a doubleheader with the defending Monroe Academy Volunteers, one of the toughest teams in the state.

“They are the defending AISA Class 3A state champs,” Watts said.

“They have a lot of very good returning players, and they’re well coached.  It’ll be a tough challenge, but I think the guys have been playing better the past couple of games.  And we’re at our home park and our home field, so we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

The Eagles will face off with another area opponent in a doubleheader Tuesday against the Escambia Academy Cougars.